The Centers for Disease Control implements the national vaccine program but is also responsible for monitoring vaccine safety. This conflict of interest has been cited by many and Congress even tried to pass a law separating the two functions.
CDC has experienced criticism and scandal on a number of fronts:
- A withering report from the U.S. Congress' Committee on Government Reform cited extreme conflicts of interest at CDC for vaccine policy-making.
"The Committee's investigation has determined that conflict of interest rules employed by the FDA and the CDC have been weak, enforcement has been lax, and committee members with substantial ties to pharmaceutical companies have been given waivers to participate in committee proceedings."
- An extraordinary study from Baruch College Professor Gail Delong called Conflicts of Interest in Vaccine Safety Research.
"Conflicts of interest (COIs) cloud vaccine safety research. Sponsors of research have competing interests that may impede the objective study of vaccine side effects. Vaccine manufacturers, health officials, and medical journals may have financial and bureaucratic reasons for not wanting to acknowledge the risks of vaccines."
- The CDC has a Whistleblower alleging fraud on studies related to vaccines and autism, as this article explains.
Just as startling, the CDC scientist, Dr. William Thompson, says the study co-authors "scheduled a meeting to destroy documents related to the study. The remaining four co-authors all met and brought a big garbage can into the meeting room, and reviewed and went through all the hardcopy documents that we had thought we should discard, and put them into a huge garbage can."
- The Office of Inspector General issued a highly critical study of CDC's ethical violations in 2009.
"We found that CDC had a systemic lack of oversight of the ethics program...For almost all special Government employees, CDC did not ensure that financial disclosure forms were complete in 2007. CDC did not identify or resolve potential conflicts of interest for 64 percent of special Government employees in 2007. CDC did not ensure that 41 percent of special Government employees received required ethics training in 2007."